Safety Management System (SMS) is the formal, top-down, organization-wide approach to managing safety risk and assuring the effectiveness of a transit agency's safety risk mitigation. SMS includes systematic procedures, practices, and policies for managing risks and hazards. SMS is about applying resources to risk and is based on ensuring that a transit agency has the organizational infrastructure to support decision-making at all levels regarding the assignment of resources. Some key parts of SMS include:
- Defined roles and responsibilities
- Strong executive safety leadership
- Formal safety accountabilities and communication
- Effective policies and procedures
- Active employee involvement
The Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan (PTASP) Final Rule requires certain operators of public transportation systems that receive federal funds to develop safety plans that include the processes and procedures necessary for implementing SMS. Among other requirements, the rule calls on agencies to report their Safety Management Policy and processes for safety risk management, safety assurance and safety promotion.